China clamps down on online gaming addiction, excessive schoolwork to curb teenage myopia
Published: May 11, 2021 11:00 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China's Ministry of Education, together with 14 other state departments, rolled out a guideline at a press conference on Tuesday to tackle growing cases of short-sightedness in children and adolescents by clamping down on issues like online gaming addiction and excessive schoolwork. 

The guideline calls for more education about eye protection, reduction of the academic burden on students, an increase in outdoor activities, proper use of electronic devices, and the monitoring of visual health, Wang Dengfeng, director of the Department of Sports, Health and Art Education at the Ministry of Education, said at the press conference. 

Sporting activities should be assigned for students during the winter and summer break, and for those already suffering from short-sightedness, outdoor activities should be increased to delay the development of myopia, the guideline said. 

Regarding visual health monitoring, the guideline said that databases for eyesight among children and adolescents should be established, and communities should be required to achieve coverage of 90 percent or higher for eye testing each year for children aged 0-6 years old. 

Lv Fan, director of the National Eye Disease Clinical Medicine Research Center, said there were various stages for young people. For preschool children aged from 0 to 6, a critical period for early myopia prevention, contact with electronic screens should be avoided, and there should be at least two hours of physical activities a day. 

Lv suggested that for primary school students aged 6-12, the duration of continuous reading and writing should not exceed 20-30 minutes each time, and 10 hours of sleep should be ensured. 

The guideline also discusses reducing the academic burden on students and stresses that schools should regulate the quantity of homework and enhance its quality. Boarding schools should also shorten the evening studying period, it said. 

To ensure thorough implementation of the guideline, Wang noted that the reduction rate of teenage myopia will be included in the government performance appraisal. 

Regulations for online games will also be reinforced, such as measures to limit the time spent on games by underage groups. Local governments will be urged to supervise local gaming enterprises in this regard.

Preventing online gaming addiction will be a key point in this year's education campaigns, which will be carried out through distribution of educational brochures, organizing comparative experiments, and issuing consumer warnings. 

In addition, stricter management of the optometry industry will be undertaken by relevant law enforcement departments with regard to the production, circulation, and sales of glasses and spectacle lenses in order to prevent substandard products from entering the market.

Global Times